The Science of Accomplishing Your Goals

It’s good to have goals, no matter what size they are. Maybe you want to cook more frequently instead of ordering take out. Maybe you want to finally finish writing that novel. Or maybe you just want to get past a new level of a particularly tough video game.

Unfortunately, some goals are harder to keep than others. Anyone who has ever made a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym more often can tell you how tricky it is to keep up such momentum for more than a few days.

The human brain is wired to favor routine over novelty, even if that routine is unhealthy. For instance, people who were given either stale or fresh popcorn ate the same amount while watching a movie—even though participants admitted that the stale popcorn didn’t taste as good. The participants were so used to the routine of eating popcorn in the theater that the quality of the snack didn’t matter.

How can we fight our brain’s natural urge to stick to its usual routine if that routine is no longer working? How can we convince ourselves to eat fruit instead of chocolate, organize our apartment instead of watching television, or cook dinner instead of ordering pizza?

Here are three ways to trick your brain into helping you accomplish your goals:

1. Turn the goal into a habit.

Say that you brush your teeth every night before bed, but you want to start using mouthwash as well. Chances are when you brush your teeth you go into “autopilot mode” and don’t think about the specific steps involved in the process, such as getting your toothbrush from the medicine cabinet or squeezing toothpaste onto it. But you don’t always remember to use mouthwash: Sometimes you brush your teeth and immediately go to bed; other times you rely on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror. In this example, brushing your teeth is the habit and using your mouthwash is the goal.

A recent study published in the journal Neuron found that habits and goals are stored differently in the human brain. Specifically, a region known as the orbitofrontal cortex is responsible for converting wishful goals into solid, automatic habits via the neuralmessengers known as endocannabinoids, which are also responsible for modulating appetite, memory, mood and (as the name implies) the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

The best way to get your endocannabinoids to help you form a habit is by being consistent. Work toward your goal every day, even if you don’t feel like it. You can set aside a specific time each day, or a specific context. For instance, you can use mouthwash every day at exactly 9 p.m. (a specific time), or you could use mouthwash immediately after brushing your teeth (a specific context). The more regular the behavior, the more easily your brain can convert it into a habit.

2. Change your environment.

Sometimes a fresh environment is all you need to kick your brain into gear. In one study, scientists discovered that students who transferred to another college were more likely to change their daily habits than students who remained at the same place.

Environmental cues are essential when it comes to habit formation, in part because the brain is excellent at connecting an environment with a specific situation. As an example, someone who likes to snack while watching a movie might be unable to resist purchasing popcorn from the concession stand, even if they’re not hungry. According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, the best time to change a habit is on vacation—because your usual environmental cues are missing.

If you find yourself constantly giving up on your goals, take a look at your surroundings: Is it difficult to clean the living room because you’re so used to watching television in that space? Do you zone out when you visit your favorite coffee shop instead of finishing your screenplay? Try sitting in a different chair or working in your local library. Think about taking a vacation. Seeing new sights may make it easier to achieve your goals.

3. Use dopamine to your advantage.

When we get something we want—a promotion, an ice cream cone, or a kiss from a loved one—our brain releases dopamine. This chemical is often known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter because it does just that—it makes us feel good.

It’s possible to manipulate your dopamine levels by setting small goals and then accomplishing them. For instance, your brain may receive a spike in dopamine if you promise yourself that you’ll clean out the refrigerator, and then you do. This is one reason people benefit from to-do lists: The satisfaction of ticking off a small task is linked with a flood of dopamine. Each time your brain gets a whiff of this rewarding neurotransmitter, it will want you to repeat the associated behavior. This is why drugs that manipulate the dopamine system are so dangerously addictive and why so many people repeatedly play the lottery.

The next time you want to accomplish a big goal, try to break it down into bite-sized, dopamine-friendly pieces. If you want to go to the gym every day, check off each successful visit on a calendar. If you want to write a novel, make a deal with yourself to write for just 15 minutes every day.

These represent are only a few of the ways in which you can work toward your goals. A 2009 study found that another good way to accomplish your goals is to avoid telling other people about them, because letting another person know what you’re up to can give you a premature sense of completeness. Gamification, or turning chores and goals into games, is a great way to fight the procrastination bug.

When it comes to accomplishing your goals, there is always something standing in your way, such as money, work, or your brain’s neurochemistry. Thankfully, with these tips, it should be possible to fight at least one of these variables. Stay consistent, change your environment, and bask in the dopamine: You just might change your life. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start reaping the rewards of your goals. As Stephen King once said: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration—the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

 

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This article was written by Ralph Ryback M.D.,   a board certified Harvard trained psychiatrist with an internship in medicine, who has taught at many institutions including Harvard Medical School. 

7 Ways To Live Happier With Better Short-Term Goals

Do you want to be a happier on a daily basis? If so, then you need to focus on short-term goals rather than long-term goals.

Short-term goals are goals that focus on the immediate future. They focus on today, this week, or this month. They have long been neglected as the unsexy stepchild of “real” goals, but they are, in fact, the guide to a better, happier life.

Here are 7 ways to live happier with better short-term goals:

1. Use short-term goals to improve your quality of life

Why do you have goals at all?

If you are like most people, you ultimately want to improve your quality of life. You hope that goals are the right tools for the job. This hope is justified – if you rely on short-term goals rather than long-term goals.

Have you ever achieved a long-term goal and thought, “Is that all I get? What now? Has my life changed?” This disenchantment is the result of a mental bias that psychologists call focalism. We focus so heavily on our long-term goals that we think we will be perfectly happy when we achieve them – but we won’t.

When we reach a long-term goal, all the other troubles in our lives remain. A promotion does little to solve our loneliness, and a new relationship is unable to fix our financial problems. These remaining problems reduce the happiness that we gain from the achievement and prevent the intended state of perfect bliss.

Unfortunately, focalism often leads us to sacrifice short-term pleasures. We accept bad days, months, and years to chase what we hope can bring perfect happiness, but it is a mirage. When the expected payoff fails to come about, we become depressed.

Short-term goals work better for our mental process. They help us to make the best of every day, and eventually, a long string of happy days will connect to a happy life.

2. Use short-term goals to define better long-term goals

Do you sometimes feel pressured by large long-term goals?

Fortunately, the right short-term goals help you set better, less intimidating long-term goals.

When you want to become a millionaire in the next five years, today has to be perfect. You would have to come up with a million-dollar idea, start a business, and become a great leader. If you are like most people, this pressure is more likely to lead to inaction than to great things – when the human mind is overwhelmed, it freezes.

To avoid a freeze, we have to set achievable goals. We can find achievable long-term goals by focusing on the short term first. Regarding money, this could mean to set the goal of being better off at the end of every month than at its beginning. We want to have paid off some debt and invested a little. This way, our financial security increases every month, which aids our quality of life – and that is the ultimate goal. Over time, these small steps will accumulate and significantly improve our quality of life.

Understanding our short-term possibilities helps us come up with better long-term solutions. Instead of making things difficult with a concrete financial life-goal, we can say that we want to be comfortable. We want to be able to pay all our bills, buy a few nice things, and take a couple of vacations a year.

As studies have shown, making more money beyond comfortability fails to add to our quality of life. Alas, making this money requires so much effort, time, and sacrifice that we feel worse. The pressure of too large long-term goals often translates to a short-term loss of quality of life.

It is better to take many small steps than to hope for a giant leap and go nowhere.

3. Let your short term goals be the autopilot to your long term goals

Sure, we would all like to be millionaires by age 50, but how does that translate to what we should do today?

If you have long-term goals, you probably know how difficult it can be to connect them to daily actions. Focusing too heavily on long-term goals can render our daily actions insignificant, leading to passivity and stagnation.

To avoid this problem, use short-term goals. When you want to be better off financially by the end of the month, saving $20 today is significant. So is controlling your expenses and paying your mortgage and your credit card.

The same principle applies to a happy relationship. Instead of saying that you want to have a happy family when you are old, short-term goals help you understand that you should bring your partner flowers today.

With the right short-term goals, you can almost forget about your long-term goals. You will automatically get there.

4. Let your short-term goals guide you to your passion

Are you passionate about something?

If so, you most likely want to live this passion in some way. Short-term goals are a great way of connecting your life and your passions.

When we create long-term goals, we often focus on what we think we have to do. We doubt that we would be able to survive if we focused on what we like, which is why our fears and insecurities trick us into living lives devoid of passion.

Short-term goals help us do what we love on a daily basis. There is always a little time to fit in what you love. Without noticing, these many small steps eventually amount to a life full of passion.

5. Use your short-term goals to free yourself from unrealistic expectations

Short-term goals are often more realistic than long-term goals.

When you plan ahead 30 or 50 years, you can hope for almost anything. However, when you plan for this day or the next week, you have to be realistic. This realism has significant advantages. It lends clarity to our needs and forces us to focus on what we can do rather than what we want to do.

Instead of hoping to become an astronaut someday, we have to understand which passion drew us to this goal and find a way to live this passion in the here and now. In this case, we might donate money, give talks to students, or start building rockets with our friends.

As we try more and more things, we accumulate skills and contacts that relate to our passions. More and more parts of our lives revolve around our passions, and we become happier. Of course, we are unlikely ever to become astronauts, but we will find a way to live our passion that makes us just as happy.

6. Use short-term goals to deal with the chaos of daily life

Is your life sometimes chaotic and unpredictable?

Short-term goals help you to better deal with this unpredictability because they avoid the mistake of assuming that the next five or ten years will go exactly to plan.

When you think that what happens today is essential to your only dream in life, little distractions become huge disasters. When you focus on the short term, you might have to switch around a few things, but you avoid a crisis.

Short-term goals create happier, less stressful lives. They take the weight of big goals off your shoulders.

7. Beat temporal discounting with short-term goals

Temporal discounting is a well-known psychological effect that destroys the effectiveness of long-term goals. Temporal discounting describes the human tendency to prefer smaller, immediate rewards to larger, distant rewards.

For example, when test subjects were asked whether they would like $400 now or $800 a year from now, most of them preferred the $400 now. Likely, most of these students want to be well-off in the future, but the distant goal leads to a bad decision.

Concrete, short-term rewards are more attractive to our minds than abstract long-term rewards. Our goal setting has to reflect this bias and focus on creating constructive short-term goals instead of inefficient long-term goals.

The students could beat temporal discounting by saying that they want to make the best financial decisions in the here and now. With this strategy, better short-terms goals would work better with their mental process.

Now that you understand how to live happier by setting better short-term goals, what is the first short-term goal you are going to achieve?

 

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This article was written by Mindvalley, an online training and education source that offers education for people who refuse to fit into the ordinary world

7 Ways To Transform Your Goals Into Rock Solid Systems

You’ve been there.

Maybe you have unfinished novels scattered across your hard drive, or haven’t picked up your guitar in weeks, or have stopped practicing that new language you so desperately wanted to learn.

Goals are easy to conceptualize. It’s easy to convince yourself that this time it’s different.

But it still doesn’t work.

Why is it so hard to actually achieve the goals we set for ourselves? Why do so many of us fail?

Here’s a hint—it’s not about your level of commitment. That’s irrelevant.

When we set goals, we too often plunge head first into the deep end with our eyes on one thing only — the achievement itself.

This, my friend, is why you fail.

You’re approaching your goals the wrong way. Not only that, you’re choosing the wrong kinds of goals to begin with.

Here are 7 ways to transform your goals into rock solid systems.

1. Adopt a systems mindset

Focusing only on the achievement of your goal doesn’t give you the best chance of success.

Scott Adams, in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, said that achievement-oriented people “exist in a state of continuous presuccess failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out.” What he means is that end-state thinking creates a division between progress and achievement.

In other words, if you aren’t winning, you’re failing.

A system is defined as “an organized, purposeful structure that consists of interrelated and interdependent elements.” A systems mindset shifts your thinking away from the end-state and lets you focus on your progress.

To skyrocket your chances of success, you have to be systems-oriented. And you must start with the right kinds of goals.

2. Get big with your goals! Forget being S.M.A.R.T.

Successful companies set long-term strategic goals, called BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals). Consider these classic examples:

• “Crush Adidas.” (Nike, 1960’s)

• “Every book, ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.” (Amazon)

• “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” (JFK, 1961)

BHAGs are clear, compelling, represent a vision, and inspire tremendous effort.

My favorite example of a personal BHAG comes from Arnold Schwarzenegger before he was famous. When asked what he was going to do after his bodybuilding career was over, he said, “I’m going to be the number-one box office star in Hollywood.” How’s that for big?

S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, and Time-bound) don’t inspire us the way BHAGs do. They are limiting and are often boring.

We need to allow more room in our lives for those BHAGs that excite us, that stimulate our success triggers and enable us to think more creatively about our futures.

When setting your goals, go big. Think BHAG.

3. Get strategic, and layer in your tactics

Strategy gives us the how behind an idea. It propels us forward and guides us where we need to go.

Strategic goals help us achieve our BHAGs because they drive everything we do.

Consider the BHAG, “To live a life of abundance, free of financial burden.” What could be one strategic goal that aligns with this BHAG? How about “make an extra $1000 a month?” Setting this strategic objective could help you achieve your vision of living abundantly.

Tactics, then, comprise the what behind our strategy. Tactics are the specific actions we take based on our strategic objectives.

In the example above, you could brainstorm specific actions to make an extra $1,000 a month — work overtime three days a week, sell one freelance article a week, or shop garage sales on weekends and sell items on eBay for a profit.

The tactics you implement support your strategic goals, which in turn align with and push you toward your BHAGs.

Break these tactics down even further into actionable components that can become habits. For your tactic of selling an article a week, start with a simple action to “write 200 words every day.” Pretty soon, this becomes a habit, and you’ve built a set of behaviors that link your habits to your tactics, your tactics to your strategy, and your strategy to your BHAG.

You’ve taken the initial steps to create a rock-solid system!

But we’re not done yet.

4. Set milestones and celebrate them

Rock-solid systems must contain benchmarks to gauge their effectiveness. How else will you know if your systems are working?

These could be time-bound, such as 30 days in, 90 days in, etc. Or they could be results driven, with intervals set at certain waypoints (5 pounds lost, 10 pounds lost, $100 extra per month, etc.).

How you set your milestones is far less important than the fact that you set them to begin with. We must be able to measure ourselves against the progress we expect to achieve.

And when you reach a milestone, the first thing you should do is celebrate! Don’t let small wins pass you by.

Every gain, no matter how incremental, is movement in the right direction. I can’t emphasize this point enough. If you don’t make the effort to cheer for yourself, then I would question whether or not you’ve set the right goal or have a clear vision.

5. Assess your progress and don’t be afraid to pivot.

If your system isn’t working, whether you scrap it or tweak it is up to you. If the probability of reaching your next milestone is low, you might need to make some significant adjustments.

Perfectly fine.

One of the beautiful things about systems is that they’re flexible. If something isn’t working, try a different approach.

Entrepreneurs do this quite well. It’s commonplace to hear of serial entrepreneurs who failed miserably time and again until they implemented the right system.

This is another reason why I love BHAGs. They help me keep my eye on the prize and worry less about the small stuff.

6. Get an accountability partner (or team) and solicit feedback.

One pair of hands alone can’t build rock-solid systems. Sometimes we just need someone to push us.

If you work alone, you know how easy it is to anchor yourself on one concept or idea.

We create more value when we’re able to share our thoughts and ideas with others.

An accountability partner or team can be like your own personal board of directors. They have your best interests at heart, and if you have a great partner, they won’t hesitate to tell you when something is broken.

So outline your system for a trusted friend or mentor and ask, “What do you think?” And check in with them on a regular basis.

I guarantee you’ll get better results.

7. Focus on the journey

With systems-oriented thinking, you will not have immediate gratification. And that’s okay. Working towards BHAGs are about pushing yourself, immersing yourself in your values and working toward your envisioned future.

Systems force you to focus on your journey and help you build habits that align with your goals. And once you’ve built those systems, you will never worry about achieving your goal—because you will!

The system won’t allow you to fail.

You now have a framework for building rock-solid systems, but the rest is up to you. It isn’t enough to just read these steps, nod your head in agreement and move onto another topic.

It’s true – setting goals and implementing rock-solid systems is a lot of work. But the payoffs are worth ten times that effort.

Achieving your goals feels great. Building systems that take you beyond your goals feels even better.

Rock-solid systems are life changing. If you’re willing to put in the hours, you’ll become a goal-getting machine.

When will you start?

 

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This article was written by Scott Sind, who is on a mission to help burned-out employees and business owners build a life that enables them to do meaningful, rewarding work they truly love. He’s the author of ActivateThought.com, where he writes about leadership, success, creativity, and professional development.

Exercise Can Help Achieve Work Goals

If you’re looking for new ways to up the ante on your work performance, exercise can do more than increase your energy and relieve stress.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular exercise can ensure that your thinking, learning and judgment skills remain sharp. If you want to achieve your goals at work, following are ways exercise can help.

PERSPECTIVE

Being a top performer in a competitive work environment can be tough and may make you feel like you’re trapped inside a bubble. With ever-increasing expectations placed on you, you may need to take a step back to gain perspective. Exercise enables you to vigorously move your body, sweat out toxins and clear your head. These are key ingredients for gaining perspective and focusing on the bigger picture.

Engaging in a challenging workout like high-intensity interval training or a calming workout like yoga can provide a balanced approach not only to your fitness regimen, but also to your work.

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

With more companies offering on-site fitness centers, indoor and outdoor campus spaces and daily yoga and meditation sessions, there are many opportunities to engage with your team and clients to build those relationships. You can take your team meetings outside and walk while you review key wins for the week, talk to a teammate about how to move forward on a project over a spin or yoga class or go for a run with a client to strategize for the upcoming year.

When engaging with others in your professional network over exercise, you’re in essence creating a sense of camaraderie on both a personal and a professional level, which can deepen and strengthen those relationships in new and exciting ways.

CONFIDENCE

When you’re physically strong, it often translates into being mentally strong, which can create confidence and resilience. You may be in a better position to take difficult situations, tight deadlines, rejections and failures in stride, so you can keep your eyes on the prize when it comes to achieving your work goals.

Boot-camp and strength-training workouts are great for providing confidence in yourself, your work and your life. The next time a challenging client situation or project lands on your desk, you’ll be better equipped to face it head-on and with confidence.

CREATIVITY

Mind-body workouts can help with improved coordination, memory, cognitive functioning and creativity. The more you do these types of exercises, whether it be through early-morning Pilates videos in your living room, lunchtime dance classes at the corporate fitness center or weekend warrior sweat sessions at the barre studio, you also may be able to take these skills and translate them into your job.

When you open your mind and connect it with your body, your creativity may start to unfold. Creative thinking skills can often help you solve problems, better market your products or sell your ideas.

AUTHENTICITY

Exercise allows you to focus on and take care of yourself, which can help you tap into your own authenticity. Being authentic and true to yourself can help you be a better leader, increase your productivity and ultimately help you achieve your goals at work.

You also may have more trust in yourself to make decisions based on your own insights, experiences and data, even when you hit roadblocks along the way. In addition, your authenticity could be well respected at work, and you may inspire your team to find their own sense of authenticity.

Keep these important impacts of exercise in mind and find ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily life so that you can be at your best both professionally and personally. It will provide you with balance, strength and courage to keep learning, growing and achieving at your highest potential in your career and beyond.

 

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This article was written by Reena Vokoun, owner of the Los Altos-based Passion Fit, a health, wellness and fitness lifestyle company.

5 Ways to Set Achievable Goals

Feeling overwhelmed or confused on your current path or in your current career? You’re not alone. But we have the choice to live our lives in courage or in fear. To me, living courageously means to set lofty, crazy dreams—and break those dreams down into an action plan, a set of goals. As Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

For the past few years I’ve worked as a reporter and writer at E! News in Los Angeles, but I didn’t begin there. I’m just a girl from Cypress, Texas, who took a chance on her dreams. I moved to L.A. without knowing anyone to attend USC. I trusted my gut, as shaky as it felt, and dove forward. I studied Theatre and Business, and it was there that I learned I loved storytelling, specifically journalism.

Moving to LA was the cornerstone in learning the importance of dreaming big. But I realized in dreaming big, I needed to break down those dreams into goals. These five steps have significantly helped throughout the years in not only setting goals, but achieving them:

1. Give yourself time to think
I learned this from my dad. He takes time every year to be silent, pray and set goals for himself as well as for the company he’s led for over 25 years. Take time to get away from the noise, turn off your phone and get away from distractions. Pray or meditate about the season you’re in, as well as what you want your future to look like. I’ve found what works for me is pretty simple: Just a pen and a paper at the kitchen table, away from the view of the clock. Give yourself time and grace to dream big.

2. Write it down—and be accountable
This simple act is essential. Write your goals down and be specific! It’s scientifically proven that you will be more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. And not just a little bit more likely. In a recent study on achievement in the workplace, 70 percent of participants who wrote and sent weekly updates on their goals to their friends reported getting them done, compared to the success of only 35 percent of people who had not written their goals down.

I prefer to keep my goals right on the refrigerator, and although it’s vulnerable (because guests will ask about certain ones on the list), it keeps me accountable.

3. Categorize
Goals can feel overwhelming sometimes, or just all over the map. Categorize various areas in your life, to simplify the process. I use a format from a book I love called Circle Maker. I’ve really benefited from the way they divided up life goals into the categories “Financial, Family, Influential, Health, and Experiential.” This division of goals helped me move away from just setting career-oriented goals, and balance goals for all aspects of my life.

If you’re working on yearly goals, think of a phrase or a word to sum up the year. Last year, I used a hash tag, “#WhyNot,” which summed up a year of career stretching goals and milestones.

4. Set Deadlines
It’s easy to have goals turn into wishes, especially when you don’t set benchmarks for them. Set a deadline to meet your goals—perhaps you want to pay down your student loans in 6 months, or maybe you want to find have a new job within the next year. Give yourself a deadline, and stay disciplined as you work towards it. You may find that having a hard deadline will help motivate you to stay focused and disciplined.

5. Work Backwards
Take your goals and work backwards. Want to run a half marathon? What goals will that require you to commit to daily, weekly, monthly? NFL player, JJ Watt, whose own mantra is “dream big, work hard,” once told me in an interview, “I came from a small town in Wisconsin, just like a lot of people, so there’s nothing crazy or special, it’s just hard work that gets you to where you want to be.” Watt has achieved his dream of being in the NFL and breaking records, but that stems from being disciplined—he’s known to hit the gym at 3 a.m. to fit in his practice!

 

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This article was written by Lindsey Caldwell, the creator of If You Can Dream It Do It and a freelance writer, reporter and host living in Nashville.

Develop A Winning Mindset to Achieve Your Goals

In modern society, we’ve wandered away from the thought of winning. It has become taboo. All the focus has been put on ensuring that those who don’t place feel just as special for having contributed.

However, this flattening of drive seems to have had some unintended consequences – diminishing confidence and persistence.

And if you want to achieve something worthwhile, you need to be confident, persistent and purposeful.

I believe a winning mindset in business (and in life) is essential for long-term success. This isn’t about being a bully or steamrolling over others. Rather, it’s a commitment to staying the course when everyone else throws in the towel.

Athletes get this. Sometimes they lose a race but they have to compete to win.

Years ago, when my kids were competing in BMX, they faced some stiff competition. It rattled them and they started to believe that they couldn’t beat the other racers. With each heat, there seemed to be less and less intensity in their riding. The coach nabbed them at the start of the last heat, stared ferociously into their eyes and said, “Concentrate on winning; losing will take care of itself.”

Winning is an attitude and a champion must take on this attitude if they hope to finish well. There’s no room for apologies. What if this is the only opportunity to prove you can?

Here are seven steps to help you develop a winning mind.

Know yourself. First take stock of yourself by acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have this information, use it to help concentrate on building on your strengths and then reduce your weaknesses.

Set realistic goals. It’s easier to focus if you have realistic aims, objectives and outcomes in mind. It’s also important to address the ultimate goal in terms of the purpose behind your big objective. Never lose sight of that ultimate goal because it’s the fuel that propels you.

Be confident. You need to be extremely confident in yourself, your ability and your belief that you can and will succeed. People respond favourably to confidence. A confident person commands respect. Even if you don’t feel overwhelmingly confident, act as if you’re confident and you will be. Just like an actor, get into character and assume the role of a confident person.

The use of positive affirmations is another technique to help you build your confidence. Repeating phrases like, “I will do” or “I can do” helps to train the mind to assume the role.

Seek personal excellence. Winning is a full-time occupation. It takes a lot of dedication, commitment and sacrifice to be the best. Personal excellence is doing things with heart. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small task; a winning mindset demands that you give 100 per cent effort and commit more than everyone else.

To quote a noted sage: “Do or do not. There is no try.” That’s personal excellence.

Focus. To have a winning attitude, you must have the ability to focus exclusively on the task at hand. Although you may have the support of family, friends, coach or mentor, in the end all the effort comes down to your output.

Block out the distractions and focus on what you want to achieve. Henry Ford once said, “Obstacles are the things we see when we take our eyes off of the goal.” Stay focused.

Honesty. You must be honest with those closest to you: your coach, partner, leader, etc. But more importantly, be honest with yourself. Graham Greene once wrote that we can never truly know another person. Only you will truly know if you’re giving your all in the pursuit of winning.

Embrace challenge: Never give up. Dedication to winning can be tough but the true champion, the true winner, never ever gives up. It doesn’t matter how hard things get or how difficult the task becomes, the person with a winning mindset never yields.

If you start to incorporate these steps, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the winning mindset.

 

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This article was written by Faith Wood, a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications.

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